Board of Education: Statement Posted 07/11/13

(This BOE statement was read to the public July 11th, 2103 @ the BOE meeting.) 

We are greatly disappointed by what has taken place over the last two weeks in the Wynantskill Union Free School District. Rather than coming to the Board of Education or individual board members to jointly reach a solution, people have chosen to create a public spectacle and expose our school and community to the ridicule of others throughout the Capital District.
Over the past months, not a single teacher approached a board member. The suggestion that people didn’t know how to reach us is shocking given the small size of our community and the fact that our phone numbers are all easily found in the telephone book.
Instead, we learned on June 26 that the Wynantskill Teachers Association had voted on June 20 to request the Board remove Dr. Henkel as Superintendent. In fact, the media received notice at the same time as the Board. In the following days, WTA members and residents initiated a social media campaign and created a flyer that they delivered door-to-door throughout the community. Again, no one personally contacted a Board member.
At the Board’s request, teachers union representatives agreed to meet with two board members on Monday, July 8—just three days ago. This is the first direct conversation we have had. That discussion was frank, but constructive. Each side aired its concerns. Our Board is committed to continue the conversation over the next several weeks in hopes of reaching a mutually acceptable resolution to this situation that has consumed—and now threatens—our school.
We want our community to understand that we have not ignored what we have heard, but that we have had just 15 days since this chaos began and just three days since the teachers first shared their concerns to respond. We realize that we have many more conversations ahead before we have a clear and accurate picture of what is happening. Then, and only then, will we be comfortable enough to make any decisions as a Board. In the meantime, we will continue to support The Wynantskill School District, most importantly the children.

Regardless of how this ultimately is settled, we are unwavering in our goal to give our students the best education our community can support. The world has changed, and with those changes, the educational needs of our children. We will look at the data; we will listen to parents, administrators and faculty. We will get a true picture of where are children actually stand in their educational development. And if we find they are not being fully served, we will work tirelessly to ensure they receive the very best we can give. We as a board, as a school and as a community will have failed if we do anything less.
July 11, 2013

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